In a significant step forward in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV), survivors in 13 counties—Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Garissa, Homa Bay, Kajiado, Kilifi, Kwale, Mandera, Marsabit, Nairobi, Narok, Samburu, and West Pokot—will receive additional funding from the Embassy of Denmark in Kenya to enhance GBV shelters as safe spaces.

GBV shelters provide temporary refuge and comprehensive support services to survivors of gender-based violence. This development comes in response to alarming statistics in Kenya, revealing that one in three Kenyan women experience physical or sexual violence.

Kenya has an urgent need for GBV shelters and safe spaces, as highlighted by a recent status report from the Generation Equality Secretariat (June 2022). The report revealed that only 18 of Kenya’s 47 counties currently have operational shelters and rescue centers. The existing shelters face several challenges, including financial constraints, limited space, and a lack of resources and human capital to effectively provide services. Many shelters are overcrowded and struggling to sustain operations without adequate support from state agencies, county, and national governments.

Amid these challenges, significant efforts are underway to address this pressing need. PS Kenya’s Accelerate Project, funded by the Embassy of Denmark in Kenya, has a proven track record of reducing maternal mortality and morbidity, addressing the unmet need for Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), including family planning, and reducing the prevalence of GBV. The project is now expanding its safety net by spearheading the establishment of GBV shelters in the 13 counties where it is being implemented.

This initiative is a direct response to a promise made during the third anniversary celebrations of the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD 25), where the Embassy of Denmark committed to setting up shelters across the country to intensify the fight against GBV.

The implementation of this intervention will be carried out by the Gender Violence Recovery Centre, with Population Services International handling research on access to shelters and PS Kenya providing overall oversight of the consortium.

The significance of these shelters extends beyond physical protection. They will serve as a focal point for psychosocial support and raising community awareness on gender-based violence, which is essential for driving attitude and behavior change.

This will also provide an opportunity for survivors to promptly report incidents within the crucial 72-hour timeframe ensuring they receive the necessary care and support they need as well as for the vital collection of crucial evidence needed for legal proceedings.

Despite these efforts, this remains a drop in the ocean. Every stakeholder must take-action to support this cause. Without access to safe and secure shelters, survivors of GBV may be unable to escape their abusers, exposing themselves to further violence

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